Tuscaloosa County Schools still hasn’t brought mask mandate to vote

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 6:59 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2021 at 7:07 AM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The latest efforts to get a mask mandate voted on publicly for Tuscaloosa County Schools (TCSS) is falling on deaf ears. That’s because parents’ and even a few local doctors’ plea for a mask mandate in TCSS isn’t making much movement at all.

“We want them to stop saying it’s up to the state. It’s not up to the state. It’s up to the leaders we elected at Tuscaloosa County Schools. It’s up to Dr. Johnson, who said those children are hers from 7 to 3. She needs to do everything she can to protect them from 7 to 3,” said Dr. Keisha Lowther, Internal medicine and pediatrics.

TCSS Public Relations Director Terri Brewer said no board members proposed a change to optional mask procedures in Monday’s TCSS board meeting. Superintendent Keri Johnson said that the student COVID positivity rate is currently around 1 percent.

The Alabama Department of Public Health said they can only recommend, not mandate universal masks in schools, relying on parent responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID.

“What you want for your child is a safe and healthy school environment, and you would want other parents to act as responsibly as you are. Kids were not transmitting COVID in school because we had masks and social distancing. Masks do work, and we are in a time of high transmission of a variant that is different from last year,” said Dr. Karen Landers, Alabama Department of Public Health officer.

TCSS plans to start back regular COVID reporting on a system level after the first full two weeks of school.

WBRC put in another request to interview Superintendent Johnson on this matter regarding masks and COVID, but she still hasn’t responded as of Wednesday morning.

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